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Adiwasis in Sukma protest Ramayana recitation competition, writes to Governor

Threatening to go on a protest, Sarva Adiwasi Samaj asked the Governor to intervene and ban the programme.

Governor of Chhattisgarh Anusuiya Uikey.

The Chhattisgarh government on Wednesday postponed a block-level Ramayana recitation competition in Sukma district after a team of Sarva Adiwasi Samaj wrote to the Governor protesting against it.

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Threatening to go on a protest, Sarva Adiwasi Samaj asked the Governor to intervene and ban the programme.

In 2021, the state government, through its cultural department, started a Ramayana Mandli Protsahan Yojana, under which competitions between teams (mandli) involved in Ramayana recital on panchayat, block, district and state levels were to be held. These competitions had started mid-March and were to continue in April.

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In Sukma’s Chhindgarh block, the competitions were to be held from March 29 to March 30.

The Sarva Adiwasi Samaj objected to the event citing infringement on fundamental rights and tribal customs in an area that falls under fifth schedule under section 244 (1) of the Constitution.

“Organising such programmes is against public peace, ethics and order of the region. Still, Chhattisgarh government, through its Chief Executive Officer, Janpad Panchayat Chhindgarh, has organised a two-day event of block-level Ramayana competition,” the letter read.

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It added that, “It is noteworthy that the permission of the tribal society is mandatory before organising any religious programme in the scheduled tribal area. But neither was it taken from the tribal society in any way nor was it granted by the tribal society in relation to this.”

Following their appeal to the Governor, the Janpad CEO released an order to all the panchayat secretaries to notify the competing teams that, due to protest in Chhindgarh block, the competition had been postponed.

The representatives of Sarva Adiwasi Samaj are unsatisfied with the postponement. “We don’t want such events in our area. We have our own separate customs and rituals, which are not linked to the Hindu deities. Before organisation of such events, at least the Gram Sabha or the Samaj’s consent needs to be taken,” said a senior representative of the Chhindgarh block Sarva Adiwasi Samaj.

First published on: 31-03-2022 at 08:21:27 am
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